Monday, July 2, 2007

Saving Billions with Supplements and...

It's Monday. I've been flipping through some publications in my reading pile.

The Lewin Group recently released a research study, commissioned by the Dietary Supplement Education Alliance, which described how dietary supplements could not only improve health but also save Americans over $24 billion in healthcare-related costs.

The study only reviewed four supplements -- calcium with vitamin D, folic acid, omega-3 fatty acids, and lutein with zeaxanthin -- and researchers studied the supplements' effects on certain biological markers and also the cost effects from reduced helath care usage.

Calcium with vitamin D alone was the leader, with estimated savings of $16.1 billion in healthcare costs. Lutein with zeaxanthin was a distant follower at $3.6 billion. Omega-3 fatty acids were close behind at $3.2 billion. And, folic acid came in fourth at an estimated at saving $1.4 billion in healthcare costs.

It's easy for us insiders to roll our eyes and say "of course."

However, this kind of research is important in waging the war of influence -- influencing decision-makers in healthcare and policy makers in elected office.

A friend of mine, Chris Harding, posed an interesting question in his blog (how would you change healthcare for the better). The topic is huge (I could have written a tome) but it's also important.

How do we not see the "other side" as the enemy, as the ones who "don't get it," and start contributing to positive change in the system, building influence along the way.

I keep wondering which entity (whether an insurance company or one of the presidential hopefuls), will lead -- in new ways that actually promote health versus treat disease.

Supplements are an important and fine start --especially given modern stress and diets. However, it will take a lot more than nutrition to fix what's so broken in healthcare. And it's not just the "system" that's broken. It's also (our own) consumer behavior that's broken.

Massive changes are required and that's where homeostasis (the anti-change setting in all of us) and emotions (the "but I don't feel like it" syndrome) get involved.

As a certified coach (leadership coach & integral coach), I have been pondering more and more how to apply the discipline of coaching (evoking positive, meaningful change in others) to the field of nutrition.

Whether it's heart health or weight loss or detoxification, it all takes effort.

Write to me if you have proposals you would like me to consider, or you would like to be in on the discussion, as I consider what to offer in this important area of health. Thanks!

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